India: Lok Sabha polls dates soon after EC team’s Kashmir visit

  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) will visit J&K on 4 – 5 Mar 19 and take a final call on the possibility of holding state elections either along with the Lok Sabha polls or soon after it.
  • The EC will reach J&K after visiting Maharashtra and UP, and is likely to announce the Lok Sabha election schedule and its decision on J&K polls soon after the visit.ET has learnt that the state administration has conveyed that it is ready to hold assembly elections provided adequate security personnel are brought in.
  • Two ‘security requirement’ scenarios have been shared with the EC and the home ministry –– of holding assembly polls along with the Lok Sabha elections or of holding it soon after the Lok Sabha elections are completed and before the President’s rule in the state ends on 20 Jun 19.
  • Meanwhile, the home ministry is learnt to have indicated that it may be possible to bring in heavier security deployment to enable multi-phase polls in J&K. The state is learnt to have estimated that 800 companies of paramilitary forces may be required for conducting assembly elections along with the Lok Sabha polls in the state.
  • It is assessed that about 200 companies of additional forces will be needed for the assembly polls alone as security requirements will increase with more candidates in the fray.
  • The EC is bound by the 2002 SC verdict that states that whenever a House is dissolved prematurely, the EC is required to initiate steps to hold elections to constitute the assembly “on the first occasion and in any case within six months from date of premature dissolution”

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